After the Scopes Monkey trial in 1925, where creationist ideas were widely discredited, the idea of fundamentalists from the Bible Belt ruling the roost would have looked foolish. In the 1960s, many liberal Americans thought they had banned religion from the public square for good. Yet nowadays the president, the secretary of state and the House speaker accept the evangelical label. A packed prayer breakfast takes place every Thursday in Congress. And liberals regularly contend that one of America's two great parties is bent on creating a theocracy—backed by a solid core of somewhere between a quarter and a third of the population. (Economist.com, 06/23/05.)
In the news: Commandments Decision Saddens Bible Belt.
Read James Ridgeway's article, Under The Revival Tent, for a "who's who" in the religious righ movement, and the plan to control the battleground state Ohio.
Bush's newfound religiosity came during a Christian revival. Like Bush, many other Protestants became evangelicals, using the Bible to help them cope and, beyond that, reading the scriptures to understand unfolding events. While many evangelicals eschew formal politics, Bible study in one way or another led them into politics. All this coincided with the rise of the ideological Republican right. These two developments opened a vast new political arena for both religious leaders and politicians. As a result, politicians play the evangelical card every day: from Bush's campaign attacks on gay marriage to the Supreme Court deliberations on the display of the Ten Commandments to an attempt by Frist, DeLay, and the Bush brothers to use the Terri Schiavo tragedy to gain political advantage. (VillageVoice.com, 06/28/05.)
Recommended reading: The Faith-Based Attack on Rational Government by Thomas A. Bowden.
[Editor's note: I have followed Blair's request to crosspost this entry to the Egosphere.]